(With Frédéric Delmar and Jonas Wallin) The study of entrepreneurship has increasingly become a centerpiece of modern economic and management research. Since the early 1980, public policy has increasingly set its hope to entrepreneurship as a solution to a number of problems, ranging from unemployment, economic change and growth, innovation, and economic competition. This political focus on entrepreneurship coincides with the rapid introduction of information and internet technologies. The combination of policy focus and new technologies has led to dramatic changes in our society. Yet, uncertainty persists over what causes entrepreneurship and what are the consequences of entrepreneurship (Acs, Åstebro, Audretsch, & Robinson, 2016; Delmar & Wennberg, 2010; Delmar, Wennberg, & Hellerstedt, 2011). The recent literature provides a range of specific hypotheses that, while accompanied by relatively sophisticated empirical strategies for testing, reach few firm conclusions.

Most critically, questions about causality remain unanswered. How to establish causal relationships for observational data, when controlled or natural experiments are not possible, is one of the critical challenges of social science. The challenge is multiplied when we are confronted with chains of relationships between many variables (Morgan & Winship, 2007; Pearl, 2000).

STATENT will develop a set of novel analytical approaches and methods from statistics (sparse regularization (like LASSO) and Hidden Markov Models); demography and biology (carrying capacity models), and social sciences and econometrics (structural equation modeling)(Hoyle, 2012). The STATENT research team is lead by Jonas Wallin (PI), assistant professor, department of statistics, Lund University, and Frédéric Delmar, professor, emlyon business school and Sten K Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship, Lund University.